Facing the unique challenges of a ransomware attack Lester Godsey, chief information security officer in Mesa, AZ, discusses how ransomware attacks have changed in the past few years and how to adapt to those changes. A hardware failure is most likely to cause unexpected downtime or data loss, but the damage caused by security threats like viruses and ransomware continue to rise. Broken equipment and human error remain the top causes of data loss over the last 12 months, while hardware failures, connectivity issues and problems caused by upgrades or patching were blamed as the biggest causes of downtime in a survey of 400 IT decision-makers. But while those reasons for outages have held reasonably stable over the years, outages and data loss caused by cyber attacks have jumped significantly according to the survey by security company Databarracks. Cyber attacks as a cause of downtime have doubled since 2016. Looking into the detail of cyber incidents, while virus attacks remain the most common threat, they are apparently declining.